Mark of the Vampire (1935) Poster

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  • When Sir Karell Borotyn (Holmes Herbert) is found dead with two marks on his neck and his body drained of its blood, suspicion falls on vampire Count Mora (Bela Lugosi) and his daughter Luna (Carroll Borland), so much that the attending doctor, Dr Doskil (), and Sir Karell's friend Baron Otto von Zinden (Jean Hersholt) are convinced of it, but Prague police Inspector Neumann (Lionel Atwill) dismisses the suggestion. A year later, however, Sir Karell's daughter Irena (Elizabeth Allan) and her husband Fedor Vincente (Henry Wadsworth) are similarly attacked, Neumann calls in Professor Zelin (Lionel Barrymore), an expert on vampires, to set a trap.

  • Mark of the Vampire is a remake of the 1927 silent film London After Midnight (1927), of which no copies are known to exist. London After Midnight was based on 'The Hypnotist', a short story by American film-maker Tod Browning. The story was adapted for The Mark of the Vampire by American screenwriters Guy Endore and Bernard Schubert.

  • Although London After Midnight (1927) is lost to time, the script and production stills still exist. These surviving artifacts allowed Rick Schmidlin to film a recreation of what the original silent movie may have looked like. (This 2002 production, also called London After Midnight (2002), is available on DVD.) The two plots are nearly identical. The main difference is that Count Mora and Professor Zelin in the remake are, in the original, a single character, Professor Edward Burke (Lon Chaney). Another difference is that the murdered nobleman is shot by his assailant, who makes no attempt to blame vampires. The vampire idea is all the Inspector's. In Mark of the Vampire the killer implausibly drains out his victim's blood and uses local superstition to divert suspicion from himself. It's unclear if London After Midnight shares its remake's habit for creating false red herrings, such as the supernatural occurrences that can't be explained away or the performances made by the hoaxers when no one is around to be hoaxed.

  • The author and critic Kim Newman thinks so; and he says as much on his DVD commentary track. We may imagine that an introductory scene was cut in post-production tampering; but no one knows.

  • It's rumored that the mark was a bullet wound Count Mora inflicted upon himself after strangling his daughter Luna, with whom he supposedly had an incestuous relationship. In truth, we don't know where the mark came from, and we don't know the exact nature of Luna's relationship with her father.

  • When Irena meets the actor playing her dead father, she breaks down and says that she can no longer go on with the plan. It's revealed that the plan is to scare the suspect, Baron Otto, with the vampires and then hyypnotize him into re-enacting what happened the night he killed Sir Karell. Irena agrees to continue on. As the ploy unfolds, Baron Otto reveals that he wanted Irena to marry him, not Fedor, so he drugged Sir Karell's wine and made his death look like he was bitten by a vampire and drained of his blood. Baron Otto is subsequently arrested for murder. In the final scene, Count Mora and Luna, revealed as actors from Luna's Bat Woman Theatre, pack up their costumes.

  • By a method known as fire cupping (or simply cupping). First, the rim of a drinking glass is heated with a candle. Then he was stabbed in the neck, and the rim of the glass was placed over the wound. According to Prof. Zelin, this created a powerful suction albeit certainly not enough to drain a whole body of blood this way.


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